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Pemberton votes to warn potential pot-dispensary owner of plan of action

Council briefs: Decision on taxpayer money to community groups remains with elected officials


Pemberton council has been doing its homework, and decided at its regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 18 that a recent application for a medical marijuana dispensary could be granted a business licence as a retail outlet, but any plans to move forward with a pot dispensary will be stopped cold.

At the Oct. 4 council meeting, Joseph Le asked council to consider amending the Village of Pemberton (VOP) zoning bylaw that governs the licensing of businesses to allow a medical cannabis dispensary to open within Pemberton.

Nikki Gilmore, VOP Chief Administrative Officer, said there are no apparent plans to open a dispensary right now and if the retailer complies with existing zoning — but then moves forward to open a dispensary — council can file an injunction to prevent it.

Council voted to send a letter to Le stating this, a move that also signals that council is not onboard with a dispensary should the applicant try to pursue that avenue if and when the federal government legalizes marijuana.

"We can give them a business licence for retail, and if they go ahead and put in a dispensary — when we're issuing the business licence for retail, we let them know that if they plan on pursuing this dispensary, they will be asked to cease and desist," said Gilmore.

The federal government is expected to introduce legislation next spring that would govern the growth and access to recreational pot. Earlier this year, government announced it would allow medical marijuana patients to grow a limited amount of their own pot.

Licensed producers sell their products through the mail, but Canadian pharmacies are lobbying to try to take control of distribution.

funding decisions remain with Elected officials

In an effort to streamline VOP last-minute funding requests concerning the Community Enhancement Funds, council voted to support specific requests for funding and turn down calls for VOP staff to approve typical — and regularly scheduled — requests.

The notion that VOP staff could approve small funding requests from community groups — most often $100 or $200 for seasonal funding for gift baskets or silent-auction items for fundraising — was met with resistance from Coun. Ted Craddock, who said it is council's job to decide how taxpayers' money is spent.

Legislative Assistant Sarah Dicker, in a report to council, noted that annual minor requests for funding take much more time and work, and suggested VOP staff be granted the authority to approve a few requests without going through council. At times, funding is granted after-the-fact as approval must wait until council meets and votes.

"It's not up to the administration to give taxpayers' money," said Craddock. "I feel uncomfortable with it."

Council voted to approve several requests for funding to the amount of $1,000, but did not agree with the concept for staff to administer $1,00 from the Community Enhancement Fund.